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Seattle judge proclaims 'Black Lives Matter' in his closing remarks

A march protesting the Seattle police shooting of Che Taylor on Feb. 21, 2016 moves through downtown Seattle on Feb. 25, 2016.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones
A march protesting the Seattle police shooting of Che Taylor on Feb. 21 moves through downtown Seattle on Feb. 25.

A federal judge who oversees Seattle police reform has invited the city to draft its own reform policies.

The Seattle Police Department is currently under federal oversight on use of force and biased policing. On Monday, U.S. District Judge James Robart gave an update on the progress and laid out next steps.

At the hearing, the mayor's office indicated it will propose police reform legislation by Labor Day. Judge Robart said he could give his feedback three weeks later, and he laid out what he's looking for.

He said any police reform legislation proposed by the city should include putting a civilian in charge of police oversight, shutting down a police-led disciplinary board, and creating an Office of Inspector General to analyze police issues.

The Community Police Commission has its own recommendations and plans to help write the mayor's legislation. Reverend Harriett Walden is the commission's co-chair.

"Last year we had an agreed upon package that was going to go forth," Walden said. "It was a combination of all of this work, and so we want to get that package done and have a package that can go over to the City Council."

The City Council would have final say on the legislation after Robart.

Robart also had a message for the police guild at Monday’s hearing: He said he’ll take action against the union if it resists the reforms. The guild's acting president told KUOW it won't get to that point.

As for progress on the reforms, Robart said the SPD has work to do on bias-free policing. To emphasize the point, he proclaimed "Black Lives Matter" during his closing remarks.

But, Robart said the SPD has undeniably improved in other areas, such as using force less often and training officers in de-escalation.